Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Understanding Dog Allergies

Understanding the allergy mechanism that is common to various types of allergy e.g. food, insect, grasses or animal related (such as dog allergies), and providing a definition of “What is an allergy?” is one that can be taken on many levels. This can range from a basic but rather crude description, through to one that encapsulates the key points of issues that are more complex to grasp.

At a rudimentary level we can simply say that an allergy, whether experienced by a human or a dog, is:

“An adverse reaction to a substance.”

However, as we will discover, the questions “What is an Allergy?” and “What Causes an Allergic Reaction?” though apparently similar, do in fact address different issues. The word ’cause’ is in itself a potential point of confusion. In the context of allergies, it is often used to refer to both the nature of the underlying mechanism as well as the source(s) of the actual allergy trigger(s); in reality, though linked, they are in fact distinct entities.

This site makes such a distinction, so that issues related to the allergy mechanism will be discussed in this section, whereas those associated with the various possible sources of allergy triggers responsible for dog allergies, will be grouped in the section entitled ‘Causes’.

In order to appreciate why such a distinction is made and to gain a better understanding of these issues:

  • General nature of dog allergies (be it allergies to dogs or dogs with allergies),
  • Signs and symptoms of allergies and why the symptom profile may differ significantly between individuals,
  • Various tests and procedures associated with diagnosing allergies and how they work,
  • Treatments available for allergies, their pros, cons and side-effects, and possible ways to prevent the frequency and severity of an individual’s allergy problem,

it becomes necessary to have a reasonable grasp of the following:

Understanding Dog Allergies

Human and Dog Immune Systems Immune System Basics – Similarities and Differences Between Dogs and Humans
Similarities and differences of dog and human immunity including comparison of white blood cell composition and a simplified schematic of animal and vertebrate immunity.
Allergens, Antigens and Allergies Allergens, Antigens and Allergies
Explains what are allergens and antigens, what is the difference between allergens and antigens and how do allergy sufferers come into contact with allergens.
Antibodies (Immunoglobulins), Hypersensitivity and Allergies Antibodies (Immunoglobulins), Hypersensitivity and Allergies
Simplified schematics helping to explain what are antibodies, what is hypersensitivity and how hypersensitivity relates to dog allergies.
Allergy Response  Sequence of Events of an Allergy Reaction Allergy Response – Sequence of Events of an Allergy Reaction
A schematic of the 2 phase allergy response demonstrates both acute response or early-phase (sensitization and degranulation) and late-phase response.
Chemical Mediators Associated With Allergies Chemical Mediators or Signaling Molecules Associated With Allergies
This area discusses the following 3 groups:

  • Cytokines (Chemokines, Lymphokines and Interleukins) and Allergies
  • Eicosanoid (Leukotrienes and Prostaglandins) and Allergies
  • Histamine and Allergies

By understanding the above i.e. allergy pathophysiology (study of functional changes associated with or resulting from an allergy), we should ultimately be far better positioned to provide a richer and more meaningful answer to questions such as:

What is an Allergy What is an Allergy?
Key aspects to be considered when attempting to provide a richer and more meaningful definition as to ‘what is an allergy’.
Allergies Nature or Nurture Do Allergies Result From Nature or Nurture?
Is it possible at present to provide a definitive answer about the role nature or nurture plays in allergies?
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